Harrison couple collects poop for profit
Alaina Gurnari and Jay McQuade are in the collection business.
They scour customers' lawns like prospectors searching for gold nuggets. But for this Harrison-based company, each one of their “finds” wind up in a garbage bag.
The stuff that's gold to them is conspicuously sidestepped by everybody else.
Gurnari, 36, and McQuade, 40, own the Poop 911 franchise in the Valley.
Since February, their company has collected dog, cat and even deer droppings from customers in four counties.
“People work a lot these days, and when they come home, many have their kids to take care of,” Gurnari said. “Like getting someone to cut the grass, this is something that someone else can do for you and save you time for a reasonable price.”
Prices start at $10 weekly. Customers order the service online and pay by credit card only.
Gurnari and McQuade get a daily computer schedule telling them where to work each day.
Ad on car draws attention
The couple's car is decked out with the eye-catching Poop 911 logo, a newspaper-reading dog sitting on a toilet.
Just driving the Poop 911 mobile gets laughs — and customers.
“Each time we drive to a job, we see people taking photos, laughing and waving,” McQuade said.
When requested, for a fee the couple can also walk an outside dog or even clean and re-line kitty litter boxes left outside.
“We never go inside the houses,” McQuade said.
A Wexford woman asked the couple to help because her yard was frequented by deer. Her two dogs got sick from worms that a veterinarian blamed on deer pellets, so the woman called.
“I had to think about it. Our usual tools were too big,” McQuade said. “I decided to use a Shop-Vac, and with a 200-yard extension cord we are able to help her.”
Today, there are 60 Poop 911 franchises in 30 states, according to Poop 911 founder Geoffrey Boodle. That includes the one based in Harrison and one near Hanover, York County.
“We're doing business in 32,000 yards a month,” Boodle said. There is no franchise fee, but the applicant must travel to Dallas for training.
There are two similar, unrelated companies, one in the South Hills and one in Mt. Lebanon.
Gurnari and McQuade have customers in Allegheny, Butler, Westmoreland and Beaver counties.
“We can collect at apartment complexes, dog parks, or homeowner associations as well as residences, McQuade said.
“Once people know we're out there, many say they had no idea the service is available and we tell them our motto: Your dog's number two is our number one.”
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer.
Reach him at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.